tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN April 6, 2017 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
internships in news media. >> we look forward to hearing from both of you more in the years to come. thank you so much. patrick, i'm sorry, it is your 17th birthday today. happy birthday. to both of you, good luck. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> i have seen the future of journalism and it looks great. that's it for "the lead." turning you over to wolf blitzer. >> happening now, trump's red line. he says something should happen with regard to syria's leader after the deadly chemical attack that killed dozens of people including children. the president calls it a disgrace to humanity. he is expected to meet tonight with national security team and a source says he is considering military action in syria. stepping aside, house intelligence committee chairman devin nunes stems aside from the probe into russia's election meddling after the ethics committee announces he's under
investigation. republicans change senate rules to confirm a u.s. supreme court nominee, ending a democratic filibuster. does this so-called nuclear option allowing a simple majority vote signal the end of any bipartisan? a high stakes summit. president trump gets ready for a critical summit with china's president amid reports of sharp infighting among his advisers with chief strategist steve bannon demoted from national security role, who has the president's ear? i'm wolf britser. you're in "the situation room." i'm wolf blitzer. this is "cnn breaking news." >> we have multiple breaking news stories this hour. president trump is weighing military action in syria. a sorls says he is discussing possible options with defense secretary james mattis. an official says he is expected to meet tonight with his national security team. the president is not tipping his hand but calls the chemical attack in syria one of the truly
egregious crimes, saying something should happen with regard to syrian leader bashar al assad. secretary of state rex tillerson adds, quote, it requires a serious response, suggesting stems are under way to force assad from power. in a stunning moving, the chairman of the house intelligence committee has stemmed aside from the investigation into russia's election meddling. he is facing ethics questions over his handling of classified information which began with a secret visit to the white house grounds, criticized as an effort to defend president trump's wire tapping claims. president trump is at the florida resort now. he will meet next hour with the chinese president xi jinping. he repeated his man tau that china treated the u.s. on trade, and indicates he will press china hard to do something about north korea's nuclear threat. senate republicans have made good on their threat to use the
nuclear option, lowering the threshold of votes needed to break a fill bust err. the historic move clears the way for appointment of nominee neil gorsuch. i will talk with our analysts and guest, standing by with full coverage of the day's top stories. president trump is at his florida resort now, ready to meet next hour with china's leader. much of the talk tonight is about syria. sources say the president is weighing military action and urgent huddles are set with his national security team. let's begin with sara murray. >> that's right. the president will be meeting with national security advisers in mar-a-lago including defense secretary james mattis as he weighs potential ways forward when it comes to syria. this comes as we see a different posture from the trump administration on syria and its president than we did a few days
ago. tonight president trump adopting a sharply tougher tone on syria. >> i think what assad did in syria is terrible. i think what happened in syria is one of the truly egregious crimes. >> reporter: after administration officials previously suggested the u.s. wouldn't push to over through syria president, the aftermath of a horrific chemical attack on civilians may be changing hearts and minds. today trump suggested something should be done. >> i think what happened in syria is a disgrace to humanity, and he is there and i guess he is running things. so something should happen. >> reporter: the president even privately telling some members of congress he's considering military action, though he hasn't yet committed to taking such a step. trump, sharing his evolving views on syria with reporters aboard air force one, as he left behind a turbulent week in washington and geared up for a potentially tense meeting with the chinese president. trump welcoming president xi
jinping to his mar-a-lago resort with where a top concern with be north korea's missile launch earlier this week. as the president previewed a busy agenda with the chinese president -- >> we will be talking about trade, north korea and many other things. >> it will be the first meeting between the leaders of the world's two largest economies. after trump spent much of his time on the campaign trail hurling insults in china's direction. >> china, which has been ripping us off, the greatest abuser in the history of this country -- >> despite trump's drum beat of criticism about china's trade policy, economic policy clearly taking a back seat as broader foreign policy concerns bombard trump's young presidency. just days ago trump delivering a familiar refrain, saying he's not interested in being president of the world. >> i'm not and i don't want to be the president of the world. i am the president of the united
states, and from now on it is going to be america first. >> then world events intervened. the horrors in syria leaving world leaders looking to the united states to see what trump would do next, and challenging the president to reconsider his world view. >> i now have responsibility and i will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly. i will tell you that. it is now my responsibility. >> reporter: meanwhile, back at the west wing, a side show as tensions simmer among some of trump's top aides. steve bannon's removal from the national security council bringing to the forefront tensions between bannon and one of trump's more moderate advisers, his son-in-law jared kushner. what you are seeing in this white house right now is a battle from some of donald trump's more conservative advisers and some of his more moderate, even liberal adviser. that's the kind of fight that will shape a number of policy decisions going forward on healthcare and tax foreign,
perhaps even foreign policy. wolf. >> good point. thank you, sara murphy at the white house. let's go to our penalty gtagon a starr. >> the u.s. military has known for months how it would deal with the assad regime if it was ordered to do so. so there's basically two things on the table, our sources are telling us. a very limited strike against perhaps the air field where those airplanes launched from that dropped those weapons with nerve agent in syria, northern syria, killing those people, those horrific pictures emerging. you could do a limited military option, but does that really change assad's view? does that change his behavior? not very likely. so the other option, would the president want to go full out
for taking out all of assad's delivery capability, his aircraft, his helicopters, artillery, rockets that can be filled with this type of agent, taking out the storage facilities, the manufacturing, the fabrication. you're talking then about a very extended campaign, about dozens of potential targets. one of the big ifs on the ground is where are the russians. russian military forces are on the ground in syria. necessary are at syrian military installations. if you're going to strike a broader set of targets, you're going to want to make sure you don't inadd vert enltly strike russians. no one is looking for a wider war. the white house apparently is looking for a way to send some kind of message and potentially take some kind of broader action tonight and all the way to decision by the president, wolf. >> it is a critically important decision indeed, barbara. thank you. barbara is at the pentagon. joining us republican senator
tom cotton of arkansas, a member of the intelligence and armed services committee. serve willed in iraq and afghanistan. thank you for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. >> i want to begin with the top story. the president as you know is considering military action in syria after this week's horrendous chemical weapons attack on civilians, killing a lot of children in the process. what specific options should the president be weighing now? >> wolf, i think the president ought to consider that kind of military action. i strongly supported military action against syria in 2013 when they violated barack obama's red line using chemical weapons against their own people. the president decided against it and we've seen what happened since then. dozens of chlorine gas attacks, the massacres in aleppo last fall with russian air power, and now another atrocity against their own people. these are not just moral outrages. this is the exact kind of thing that drives arab muslims into the hands of the islamic state and threaten the united states.
so in terms of military action, the president obviously will listen to his commanders. he will have a wide range of options. those options don't have to include trying to change the regime in syria immediately or establish a constitutional democracy there. they could be something along the lines of what president reagan did in 1986 in libya after gadhafi's terrorist forces bombed a nightclub american service members frequent. we truck barracks, air fields, command and control centers. there's no lack of targets in syria to teach bashar al assad we will not tolerate the use of chemical weaponness the world today and that we will punish those who do. >> the secretary of state, as you know, senator rex tillerson, he says in his words steps are under way to remove bashar al assad. that's a dramatic shift from what he said a few days earlier when tillerson and the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. nikki haley suggested assad's fate
should be decided by the syrian people. what steps do you think he is referring to, the secretary of state? >> well, it's been the stated policy for years of the united states government that bashar al assad should leave power in damascus. president obama didn't implement that policy, but it was the stated policy. that policy has not yet changed. i know the national security council is undertaking a deliberate review of that policy. there are many ways we can bring pressure to bear not only on bashar al assad but on his patrons, vladimir putin in moscow and the ayatollahs in teheran. military action can be an option as well to demonstrate to the patrons and to demonstrate to assad u.s. patience has expired and the u.s. is back in the fight in the middle east. >> i know the president has been making some phone calls to some key members of the house and senate. has he called you yet? >> i've not spoken with the president about it. i have consulted with some of his senior advisers though. of course, you don't want to take hasty or precipitate
action. president reagan waited ten days in 1986 to make sure the intelligence supported the conclusions behind the bombings in germany. i think the consequences have to flow. the president recognized that in his statement from the rose garden yesterday, expressing moral out raping but refusing to reveal his hand as to what the consequences will be. >> then candidate donald trump strongly opposed using military action in syria, i want you to listen to this little clip, this is what he told cnn's erin burnett in september of 2015. >> let syria and isis fight. why do we care? let isis and syria fight, and let russia -- they're in syria already. let them fight isis. look, i don't want isis. i don't want isis. isis is bad, they're evil. when they start doing with the head chopping and drowning of every -- these are really bad dudes. so i don't want 'em. but let them fight it out.
let russia take care of isis. how many -- how many places can we be? >> so, senator, do you believe the president fully appreciated the gravity of the situation in syria before this week's chemical weapons attack? >> well, i know that he appreciates the gravity, wolf, now of the situation. 18 months is a long time on a battlefield. many things have changed since the president said those things. russia surged forces into syria. they helped stabilize the assad regime. they committed atrocities in aleppo late last year. the turks now are worried about our alliance with syrian kurds. so there's a lot of things that change on the battlefield. changed circumstances sometimes lead to changed policy even though the end goal remains the same and that's the protection of the united states national security interests. with assad in power committing these kind of atrocities, driving syrians into the hands of extremist groups for their own protection, the united states cannot be safe from the threats emanating from syria. >> you know for the last several years, what, 400,000 civilians,
syrians have been killed in syria in this brutal war, millions have been injured, millions more have been made homeless internally, externally. it has been going on for a long time, long before this chemical weapons attack this week. i want to just refer to what the president as a private citizen said back in 2013 in a tweet. he said, the president -- referring to president obama -- must get congressional approval before attacking syria. big mistake if he does not. do you believe that president trump now needs authorization for the use of military force from the house and senate? >> wolf, i don't think he needs it. it can often be useful though to express a united front so i would encourage him at a minimum to consult with congressional leadership. if he feels it would be helpful he should come to congress, but i believe the president has the legal justification he needs to
protect u.s. interests. >> if he asked you to vote for a formal authorization for the use of military force in syria, would you vote for that legislation? >> i would, wolf, assuming it is a traditional authorization for the use of force, not like what president obama propose willed a few years back, which was really more of a limitation or restriction on the use of force. look, ronald reagan didn't need congressional approval in 1986 to take action against an immediate threat to the united states. presidents don't need that kind of legal justification. it is inherent -- or i should say statutory justification, that's inherent in their constitutional matters. however, as a political matter and to the world it is often better to show a united front. >> senator, i want you to stand by. there's a lot more happening, very critically important issues. we're going to continue our conversation after a quick break. "the situation room with wolf blitzer" brought to you by
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closed captioning brought to you by -- we're talking with senator tom cotton of the intelligence committee. we will get back to him in a moment. but i want to update you on a stunning announcement from the republican chairman of the house intelligence committee, an announcement he is stepping aside from the investigation into russia's interference in america's democracy. cnn's ryan nobles with us. update our viewers. >> that's right. when you consider a week ago congressman nunes had no plans to step away from steering the house investigation into russia's attempt to intervene in the american election. today he change willed his mind and became the second trump ally to remove himself from the investigation. >> the committee will come to
order -- >> tonight the man charged with leading a capitol hill investigation into russia's meddling into the 2016 presidential election is forced to step down, at least temporarily. >> we will not talk about the investigation. >> house intelligence chairman devin nunes announced he was stepping away because of a series of ethics complaints filed against him. the complaints accuse him of disclosing classified information following his secret meeting on white house grounds just over two weeks ago. >> chairman nunes wants to make sure this is not a distraction to a very important investigation, so he wants to go clear himself while this investigation continues on without any kinds of distractions. >> in a statement, nunes called the charges, quote, entirely false and politically motivated. he handled over the investigation into russian interference in the election to texas congressman mike conoway but vowed to stay on as committee chairman. still, the dramatic step down comes amid overwhelming criticism of nunes handling of the russian probe and concerns he could not be impartial.
today the ranking democrat on the committee thanked nunes for recusing himself, something nunes resisted until today. >> i'm sure it was a very difficult decision for him, but as he mentioned i think it is in the best interests of the investigation. >> nunes has been embroiled in controversy since he publicly claimed he had seen intelligence indicating president trump's communication may have been incidentally collected by intelligence agencies conducting surveillance of foreign targets. after secretly seeing them on the public grounds he returned to the white house to brief the president. >> this is information brought to me i thought the president needed to know. >> the full committee, not privy to the same intelligence, will now be able to view the documents at the nsa's headquarters in fort immediate, a move the committee says will get it back on track. >> the materials the chairman viewed at the white house i subsequently viewed are being made available to the full committee. i think that's a positive step
as well. >> this as some democrats, despite nunes' recusal, have re-unit renewed their calls for it to be handled by an independent commission. he supported the role nunes played in the investigation. we are told the speaker and nunes spoke about the situation and ryan agreed with nunes decision to step away. even though nunes told the speaker of his plans last night, he did not inform members of the house intelligence committee during a meeting they had this morning. >> a surprising development indeed. ryan nobles, thanks very much for that report. i want to bring back republican senator of arkansas. he served combat tours in iraq and afghanistan. in your view, senator, did chairman nunes do anything wrong? did he do the right thing by stepping down from this investigation? >> wolf, to my knowledge devin did nothing wrong, but as he stated he didn't want to be a
distraction given all of the allegations some of these activist groups filed with the ethics committee so he stepped aside to let mike conoway continue the investigation. i knew him in my time in the house and i'm sure he will continue forward in the investigation. ultimately, no matter what happened over the last two or three weeks over how the records were accessed or who saw them first, what is most important is what the records show. the senate intelligence committee as part of our inquiry will be reviewing these records if appropriate, we will call in susan rice and anothers to testify and will continue to work together in the bipartisan fashion we have so far as we investigate all of these allegation also. >> i want to get to susan rice in a moment, but it is pretty extraordinary for the house ethics committee to be investigating the chairman of the house intelligence committee for maybe releasing classified information inappropriately. that's pretty extraordinary, isn't it? >> well, any time an outside group files one of these complaints with the office of
congressional ethics, they move forward with an investigation. i've been the subject of those kind of partisan complaints before. they were dismissed unanimously. devin claims he has done nothing wrong and he simply didn't want to be a distraction to the investigation which is very important, and i think the american people want us to focus on the substance of the matter and get to the bottom of it as quickly as we can and to make as much public as we can. on the senate intelligence committee, that's what we're focused on doing. >> you said yesterday president obama's national security adviser susan rice, in your words, was the typhoid mary of the obama administration because she always seems to have gotten herself caught up in controversy, in this case the alleged unmasking of trump associates contained in intelligence reports. do you have any specific evidence, senator, that she did anything illegal or improper? >> well, i mean, wolf, she showed up in the middle of the benghazi controversy, bowe bergdahl and now this. she always had an tendency to
turn up in the middle of obama foreign policy controversies. on this matter, no, there's no specific evidence yet. that's one reason we are going to get hold of these records and review them. if there's nothing there, we will make those findings public and move forward. if there's concern for illegality or inappropriate conduct, we probably will call ms. rice in to testify. in her public statement so far there's been inconsistencies, that's why i think it is important to continue together in a bipartisan fashion as we have and get to the bottom of all of these things and let the facts lead us where they may, not only on this controversy but on some of the more wild eyed con spirlsy theories people are kplaming about collusion between donald trump associates and russian intelligence. it is important not to get ahead of ourselves in these matters, that we take a deliberate approach and let the facts lead where they may. >> which is excellent advice except the president is not heeding your advice. in that interview with the "new
york times" he specifically says susan rice he believes committed a kriechcrime. he didn't provide evidence, didn't cite a particular crime, just says he believes she committed a crime. here is a question and you are a graduate of harvard law school, was it an appropriate use, an appropriate statement at the presidential level, a presidential power for him to make a statement that he believes she committed a crime? >> wolf, i've been recovering from law practice for 14 years now, so don't -- blame me for that. look, the president knows like we all know that the only crime that we know occurred so far is the leaking of information to the media about potential intercepts. that shouldn't have been revealed. we don't know yet who did it, or at least i don't know who did it and we should get to the bottom of it. that's all caught up in these claims of unmasking information. >> was it appropriate for the president, who is in charge of all u.s. law enforcement, the justice department, was it appropriate for him to say he believes she committed a crime?
>> wolf, it is my impression he said she may have. maybe i'm mis -- i don't remember correctly. >> let me read -- i will read you the quote, the specific quote. he said this. he said, i think it is going to be the biggest story. he said, it is such an important story for our country and the world. it is one of the big stories of our time. he declined to say what evidence he has. he then said, do i -- he was asked, do you think she committed a crime? he said this, quote, do i think? yes, i think. that's the specific quote. >> well, there's a difference between thinking and knowing. he might have stated it more artfully, but we do know that a crime was committed in the leaking of the information about general flynn's conversation with the russian ambassador. we don't know who did it, and the underlying reporting may have been perfectly lawful but in all of these allegations, wolf, of all of the claims of all parties going both ways, that's the one crime we know is committed and the president is right to be concerned about
that. >> but do you believe he's right to basically convict her? >> well, wolf, he expressed an opinion, not a conviction. again, he's right to be concerned about it. >> let me rephrase the question. is it appropriate for the president of the united states to express an opinion on such a sensitive matter involving the national security adviser of the predecessor? >> well, it is best probably for the president to not express opinions about particular criminal matters or particular investigations. again, he expressed an opinion, not a firmly held knowledge with evidence of a crime. that's one reason though we're going to get hold of the records and reveal them all, and if necessary we will call ms. rice in to testify because we want to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and give the american people the confidence that our government, our intelligence agencies are properly handling classified information and protecting the civil liberties of the american people. >> let's talk about this other historic moment today, the use of the so-called nuclear option to push through president
trump's u.s. supreme court nominee. are you concerned that doing away with the filibuster in order to confirm neil gorsuch, the judge, will ultimately lead to the end of the legislative filibuster as well? >> i'm not, wolf, because they're very different practices, very different traditions. for 214 years there was never a partisan filibuster of any nominee, for any party of any office until 2003 when chuck schumer convinced democrats to start filibustering judges. always of now we're back to where we were in 2003, after 214 years of tradition. in those days it was an unwritten rule, today it is a written rule. sometimes unwritten rules railroad as important as written ones, and that's because if you don't move forward with nominations which you can't compromise on, you can't negotiate, you can only vote yes or no, then you don't have the offices of the government filled. i think there was a good reason why for 214 years nominees always got an up or down vote, and after today we're back to
where we always should have been and where we should have remained over the last 14 years. >> sen ton cotton, thanks for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. >> still ahead, we are told president trump will meet with his national security team after telling reporters something should happen because of the syrian chemical attack. stay with us. repfor the future.e who's he? he's the green money you can spend now. what's up? gonna pay some bills, maybe buy a new tennis racket. he's got a killer backhand. when it's time to get organized for retirement, it's time to get voya. ♪ ♪
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breaking news sources telling cnn president trump is now considering military action in syria. this afternoon on air force one the president told reporters something should happen because of this week's chemical attack. let's bring in our experts. dana, you broke the story earlier today. what can you tell us about the
president's thinking right now, about the possibility of using military action against the bashar al assad regime? >> he personally is working the phone, calls key members of congress to say it is now under his consideration and that at least one of the phone calls i'm aware of happened yesterday, the same day that he was in the rose garden saying that his thinking has change willd, his attitude changed, specifically meaning during the campaign and not that long ago, i would say maybe three days ago, his approach to syria and pretty much everywhere around the world, no military action. now that's different. the message to capitol hill, and we saw him elaborate on that a little bit on air force one, is that he is seriously considering it. it is not a done deal. he definitely hasn't decided if, and if so what, meaning what kind of attack and what kind of operation it would be, but he's consulting with his defense
secretaries. >> what kind of options do you think he would be considering? >> boy, this is really fascinating, wolf, because we talked about north korea and syria. the differences couldn't be starker. if you look at north korea, very few options. the chinese have not been helpful, sanctions haven't worked and military option seems out of the question. contrast to syria. you send in american strike missiles to military targets or presidential palaces. do you put u.s. aircraft to take out helicopters? there's a problem because the syrians have high air defenses. secretary tillerson said something fascinating. he suggested the president of syria doesn't have a role in the future of syria. do you say that you want to take assad out? do you increase support for the syrian opposition? this is the first real test for the presidential administration for president trump, and i think the range of options he has is pretty darn broad. >> you know, we've been covering donald trump for a long time, as a candidate, even during the
transition, breanna, he was so reelect ant to expand u.s. military power in the middle but now, presumably because of these awful picture also of little kids dying in this chemical weapons attack, he is coming around and coming to the conclusion maybe he has to expand u.s. military force. >> and for people who cover syria in detail, it is puzzling to them because of some of what he has said. he said you're now talking about a whole different level, but you're not actually talking about a different level. as horrible as those pictures are, as we understand it, there have been dozens and dozens of chemical attacks. this has been going on throughout the process. the question many people have is was this a rhetorical kind of nonsensical flourish? does he lack basic rude men rud knowledge of what is going on in
syria? mike pence said all options are on the table, but does donald trump have something in mind? it is unclear. >> stand by. we're covering breaking news on capitol hill where republicans made good on their threat to change the senate rules to assure judge neil gorsuch will be the next u.s. supreme court justice. fl and i, want to remind you that no one's the same without the game. like @annethefan3, who writes, "my husband recently constructed "a regulation sized field goal post in the front yard. "to say it's an eyesore is an understatement. is he ok?" anne, no. he's not ok without football. mini camps open soon though. until then, help him adjust for the wind. oh and laces out, kind of a biggie.
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president trump's nominee to the u.s. supreme court, judge neil gorsuch. let's get details from our congressional correspondent phil mattingly. phil, this was a bitter fight. update our viewers. >> reporter: that's exactly right, wolf. no shortage of finger pointing accusations thrown about, but no shortage of regret even among republican senators who say they wish it wouldn't have gotten to this point, but it did. republicans made very clear they were moving forward on the supreme court nominee. tonight senate republicans have triggered the so-called nuclear option. >> therefore i raise the point of order that the vote on cloture under the precedent set on november 21st, 2013 is a majority vote on all nominations. >> reporter: senate majority leader mitch mcconnell making a historic change to the senate rules to clear the path forward for president trump's supreme court nominee. >> today's vote is a cautionary tale about how unbridled
partisan escalation can ultimately overwhelm our basic inclination to work together. >> reporter: republicans repeatedly touting nominee neil gorsuch's qualifications and blaming anger at trump for the democratic block aid. >> the opposition to this particular nominee is more about the man that nominated him and the party he represents than the nominee himself. >> you know that he'll be confirmed and you know in your hearts of heart that he deserves to be confirmed, and that's why this is especially sad state of affairs. >> reporter: the change, that so-called nuclear option, dropped the threshold to advance gorsuch's nomination from 60 to just 51 votes, giving republicans who hold 52 seats in the chamber the ability to work with no democratic help. >> in a post-nuclear world, if the senate and the presidency
are in the hands of the same party there's no incentive to even speak to the senate minority. that's a recipe for more conflict and bad blood between the parties, not less. >> reporter: the move marks a culmination or perhaps continuation of events set into motion over years of mistrust and partisanship and follows the 2013 democratic move that made the same change for lower court appointees. >> it is time to change the senate before this institution becomes obsolete. >> reporter: it was done then to overcome gop block aids of mmm of president obama's nominees and drew this stark warning from mcconnell. >> you may regret it a lot sooner than you think. >> reporter: mcconnell now escalating deeply embedded partisan tensions himself with a move even some republican colleagues are criticizing. >> i find myself torn between protecting the traditions and
practices of the senate and the importance of having a full complement of justices on the u.s. supreme court. >> reporter: even as they all voted in favor. >> mr. mccain? >> aye. >> reporter: making clear by week's end mr. trump's first pick for the highest court in the land will be confirmed. and, wolf, that final vote, all that's really left -- and it is not really up in the air anymore -- should come tomorrow evening. the final swearing in should come on monday. it is worth noting if this rules change does not apply to legislation. that will still require democrats to come on board with republicans to be able to move forward, but a lot of the concern you hear from members of both parties is the slippery slope argument, that perhaps legislation is next, perhaps the senate is headed the way of the house. now, i will tell you i have spoken to a number of senators and top senate aides over the last several days and there's work to prevent it from happening. the question is will that work
turn into anything. >> thank you, phil. phil mattingly on the hill. coming up, any good options to rain in kim jong-un before the north korean leader sparks a nuclear crisis? y286oy ywty gave us the power to turn this enemy into an ally? microsoft and its partners are using smart traps to capture mosquitoes and sequence their dna to fight disease. there are over 100 million pieces of dna in every sample. with the microsoft cloud, we can analyze the data faster than ever before. if we can detect new viruses before they spread, we may someday prevent outbreaks before they begin. on a perfect car, then smash it into a tree. your insurance company
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president trump meets next hour with china's president and the start of a critical summit at mar-a-lago. he'll press the chinese leader on trade. also trying to get china to put pressure on north korea over its nuclear and missile programs. brian todd has been looking into this for us. lots at stake. >> reporter: nothing less than the stability of the korean peninsula. just a short time ago on air
force 1, he thinks china, quote, will be stepping up on north korea but he's looking across the table tonight at a chinese president who likely doesn't want to pressure kim jong-un and there's serious questions about whether these two leaders can really diffuse this crisis. from his bunker, kim jong-un tonight is posing an enormous challenging to two of the world's most powerful leaders. kim's aggressive hell or high water pursuit of nuclear weapons is a pivotal topic as president trump and chinese president xi jinping look across the table at each other. >> it's growing by the day and president trump and president xi jinping under great pressure to do something. >> what with president trump say to president xi jinping to get china to put more pressure on kim jong-un to scale back his weapons program? a senior white house official says they'll try to get china to assert its massive economic
level over china. he go impose secondary sanctions on china if they don't do more to pressure kim. >> secondary sanctions are the use of united states sanctions directly against chinese companies that are doing business with north korea. >> we press the white house on whether the president would threaten secondary sanctions on hine. they've not responded. another option is talking directly to kim, a move -- >> the united states must do something that the chinese want us to do which is to engage in direct negotiations with kim. >> and in return markey says china would tighten the economic screws on china. no response from the white house to that idea. >> if that negotiation fails there's nowhere else to go. and that's a very dangerous place to put any president. >> one of president trump's toughest challenges, getting any movement from a chinese leader who many experts say doesn't really want to do anything about north korea.
>> the president xi jinping has no real incentive to make major steps on north korea because china believes it's better off with even a nuclear armed an hostile north korea on its border than with a reunified korean peninsula aligned to the united states. >> president trump could try to get gin skrin to speak directly kim jong-un but those two leaders still haven't met and the chinese don't much like the young dictator next door. >> he's not cooperative as his father or grandfather, so this guy is unpredictable. he's brash. he's in essence irrational and quite a big ego. >> most analysts don't believe president trump and president xi jinping will emerge from these meetings with any kind of break through missions. maybe they say they might be able to agree to game plan to put more pressure on kim. as one analysts says, north korea is still the land of lousy options.
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happening now, breaking news. striking back after a gruesome chemical weapons attack. sources tell cnn president trump is now considering military action in syria. will he directly take on the strong man, bashar al assad. the house intelligence committee chairman is off the trump/russia probe as the ethics committee launches an official kwirg into his handling of